I grow my own pickles -- very easy. You can do the full recipe or cut it in half or down to a quarter. And, you can find pickling cukes in the grocery too. I'm sure you can even use regular cucumbers, just cut into spears or slices. Anyway ...
77 oz. water
38 oz distilled vinegar
8 oz pickling salt (1/2 lb.)
74 oz cucumbers (~4.5 lbs.)
handfull of fresh dill heads (I grow, but can be bought)
peeled garlic cloves
Put water, vinegar and salt into a large pot and boil.
Remove from heat and pour into glass (mason) jars overnight to cool. (Wash the jars first)
Next day, scrub the cukes and remove the blossom ends by making a thin slice.
Either keep cukes whole, or cut into spears or slice crosswise.
Pull out the jars you wish to use -- not the jars with the brine.
Add some dill to the jars, a few garlic cloves and about 1 tsp peppercorns.
Add cukes and cover with cold brine.
Keep in fridge for 3 days before eating.
These will keep nicely for months. I've had mine in there for 3-4 months with no problem. Just keep lids on tight. There's no need to process these in a canning pot. The vinegar solution preserves the cucumbers. If you can them, the cukes get soggy. So, I do it this way in mid-summer and have cucumbers through Thanksgiving. Then, I try to buy some more in the fall at the store, and make another batch to get through to spring.
You can adjust the flavor of this by adding more/less garlic, mustard seed, celery seed, hot pepper, onion, etc. By the way, the photo is from the Seeds of Change website -- a good supplier of organic seeds.
They are fun to grow if you have space. They grow like a vine. So, dig a 8-10' row, put two 6' stakes on either end, and tie netting to the stakes to make a "fence." The cukes will vine up the fence. Pick regularly to keep the vines producing.
I get a lot of questions about how to get started on a gluten-free casein-free diet (the autism diet). One great place to find some beginning recipes is at the GFUTAH website. This is where I found the pancake recipe that I use weekly (slightly modified). Anyway, check it out and I'm sure you'll find something that fits your child's taste. Look at the pancake recipe but I'll include my version here. By the way, the pancakes shown at right are from their website.
Bean flour mix (1/3 cup chickpea flour, 1/3 cup potato starch, 1/3 cup tapioca flour)*
2 tbsp sugar (or other sweetener)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp oil
1/3 cup water + another half of 1/3 cup water
Cooking spray or oil for the pan
(I exclude egg or egg sub and xanthan gum on purpose in this recipe. Yes! It still works)
- Combine the flour mix, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix.
- Add the oil and water and whisk. This should resemble normal pancake batter and not stick to the whisk but not pour off of it like water. Something in between. You'll know if it's too dry because the pancakes will look flaky and dry. It's just right if the pancakes show bubbles while cooking.
- I spoon 1 tbsp batter onto a medium hot pan sprayed with original Pam. Turn when bottom is browned.
- Makes about 1 dozen. I often make a double batch.
- Note: I exclude the xanthan gum and egg sub because it tends to make the pancakes too gooey and not fluffy.
- I also modify this recipe sometimes by adding 8 tsp carob powder (cocoa is fine if your child can handle it) and another 1/3 cup water to make "chocolate pancakes."
Thanks to the GFUTAH folks!
Sometimes, solutions fall from the sky. Or, so it seems. My kids cannot eat rice and I've tried over and over to find a good substitute. No, quinoa and amaranth didn't go over so well. And, sorghum tore up their stomach's just like corn. I still have to try millet, but fear the same reaction as sorghum. Anyway, to my point.
A couple of nights ago, I made some tapioca noodles for my youngest daughter, who loves noodles. I drained them and placed them in a bowl, which I put in the fridge.
Last night, I pulled them out. The noodles looked like a round blob, or even a weird UFO. They had stuck together to the point they gelled, making it impossible to pull the noodles apart. It was just one big blob of tapioca pasta.
So, I heated a pan, sprayed it, poured a tbsp of canola oil in, a little diced onion and sea salt, and the blob. I began chopping it apart with a spatula. I did this for maybe 10 minutes. The noodles never did come apart, but I managed to chop the blob into edible, bite-sized pieces.
I made myself a bowl. It was good. My youngest daughter walked past, looked at the bowl, and said, "I try some rice?" Stunned, I said, "Sure."
Then, my oldest daughter walked in, saw what the youngest was eating, and said, "I want some rice, too." More stunned, I said, "Sure."
We all had two helpings of "rice."
The end result of all the chopping and cooking was that the tapioca blob looked like rice pieces all stuck together. The kids didn't care. It looked like rice and was flavored like I'd make rice, so they ate it.
One problem solved. A million more to go.
"French fry pancakes"
These really are just a version of potato pancakes, using yucca. My kids, of course, love fries, so I called them french fry pancakes. They're a hit. Here's my recipe:
- 2.5 lbs yucca, either frozen or fresh.
- 1 small onion
- cooking oil
- pam original cooking spray
- thyme, basil, cilantro or parsley
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup homemade broth -- I use low-fat chicken
Boil the yucca with lemon juice for roughly 45 minutes, depending on how big the chunks are. Strain, let cook slightly. Remove the tannish core stem that will become visible after cooking.
Put yucca into food processor and mash it down. Then, in mixing bowl, add yucca, your choice of spice (I use 1 tsp thyme), sea salt and broth, mix well.
Put 1 tbsp cooking oil in pan and heat to medium high temp. Wet hands before handling the yucca mix. Scoop a dollar-sized amount of yucca mix and shape into a pancake. Cook a few minutes each side until golden brown.
This recipe is very adaptable. You can cut the oil and just cook with Pam Original, for example, to cut down on fat. You may use your choice of herb. And, you may use your choice of broth.
In addition, you can use this mix to make yucca pancakes, yucca balls, yucca logs, or even a yucca dough by mixing in some flour. I haven't tried that yet, but I plan to. And, if you can make a yucca dough, then you could make yucca noodles or yucca gnocchi, just like you would with potato.
By the way, I found yucca -- both fresh and in 5 lb frozen bags -- at a local Asian grocery that also carried some South American foods. So, look either in South American or Asian groceries for this. Cost was $1/lb.
One of the first problems I faced when switching my kids to a non-gluten diet was making some type of bread. I had no clue what flours to use, how to mix them or how to bake them. Which recipe was right? After all, there's so many types of flour. And then, what recipe would my kids actually eat? Well, here's two recipes that are good to start.
The first is a simple roll recipe that you can use to make dinner rolls, snacks, and even buns.
- 1/2 cup chickpea flour
- 1/2 cup tapioca flour
- 1/2 cup potato or arrowroot starch
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 egg or 3 tsp egg replacer powder
- 2 tsp xanthan gum (may sub guar gum)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1/2 cup water
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients together. Addliquids. Beat until combined, but don't over-mix. It will be a stickydough. I wet my hands with water and scoop up a golf-ball sized chunkof dough and roughly mold it into a ball, then place it on anungreased cookie sheet or muffin tin. They puff up, so don't placetoo close. Bake for 20 minutes. They freeze well, too. I usually makea double batch and freeze half.Also, you can try to make buns from this, using a form or foil paper.Or, in the muffin tins, you can flatten the tops using the wet end ofa small cup to give them a more uniform shape.
The second is not my recipe, it comes from the GFCFrecipes board. Here it is:
CELIAC LIGHT BREAD by Tom Van Deman August 20, 2003
- 1 1/8 cup Chickpea flour also called Garbanzo bean flour (I grind my own)
- 1 cup cornstarch (I use Cream corn starch) NOTE: could use arrowroot, potato, etc.
- 1 cup + 1 Tbs. tapioca flour
- 3 1/2 tsp. xanthum gum
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3 Tbs. brown sugar (Make sure that there are no lumps)
- 1/4 tsp. creme of tartar
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten or egg replacer
- 1 1/8 cup warm water (uncomfortable to touch but not boiling)
- 3 Tbs. vegetable oil (I use peanut oil or canola oil)
- 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast (or substitute)
Bread Machine Method WARNING: Adding more liquids or flours or reducing same could cause the bread to not cook thoroughly on the inside or to be too heavy. Also I am at almost 6000 feet altitude in Denver area which might cause your bread to be slightly different than mine. First try it as is and then experiment if necessary. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a medium size bowl except for the yeast. Mix dry ingredients thoroughly with wire whisk. Mix together the lightly beaten eggs, warm water, and oil in a separate bowl and thoroughly mix with wire whisk. Pour the liquid ingredients into your bread machine bowl (I use my Zoj). Immediately spoon in your dry mixed ingredients on top of the wet ingredients to make a mound in the center but covering all of the wet ingredients. With a spoon or spatula make a small depression in top of your dry ingredients (must be dry for the yeast) and immediately spoon in your yeast. Place your bread machine pan in the machine correctly and turn the machine to regular wheat bread cycle and turn on machine. (This dough will need two kneadings in order to get its content to proper consistency.) Do not add any more liquids or flour. The dough will form a sticky ball. With a spatula scrape down the sides of machine bowl to make sure all of the dry ingredients get into the dough ball. On the rise cycle use your spatula that is wet to smooth the top of the loaf, if desired. Bake the bread using the medium crust setting. When finished turn the loaf out onto your wire rack and allow bread to cool or you can slice it while hot (Do not squeeze the loaf too tightly while holding it to slice while hot.) Slice the bread thin with a serrated bread knife or electric knife and enjoy. Oven Method Turn your oven to 375 degrees. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a medium size bowl or your mixer bowl including the yeast. Mix thoroughly on medium or low setting. Mix together the lightly beaten eggs, warm water, and oil in a separate bowl and whip with wire whisk until all ingredients are mixed. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with your mixer on medium speed (Use paddle or dough hook). When sticky ball forms scrape sides to get all of the flours and ingredients mixed together and continue to mix for about 1 minute more. Scrape into a 9 x 5-inch lightly greased loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap, set in non drafty warm place and let rise until at least double size (approximately 45 to 60 minutes). Remove plastic wrap and pace pan in preheated oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped with a spoon. Turn the loaf out onto your wire rack and allow loaf to cool or you can slice it while hot (Do not squeeze the loaf too tightly while holding it to slice when hot.)
There is help available to ease this process. And, the first -- and best -- piece of advice is this: DON'T PANIC! This does not happen overnight, nor should it.
The first place I recommend people go is the TACA website, specifically to the diet page at http://www.tacanow.org/tag/gfcf/. There is a great piece up top on how to phase in the diet over 10 weeks. Another good site is GFCFdiet.com.
I also recommend buying one, or both, of Lisa Lewis' cookbooks. They're very good. You can find them at Amazon.
And, there are a number of good autism message groups on Yahoo where thousands of parents talk back and forth every day, offering advice, asking questions and giving support. The best one for diet is the GFCFrecipes message group.
Also, search the web and phone book for a local autism group -- someplace that may offer help and guidance.
Search for stores in your area that sell a variety of flours or specialty foods, like a food co-op, Whole Foods, etc. Again, if you don't know where to go, ask for help.
If you're on a tight budget, don't worry. This still can be done. Buying in bulk cuts food prices down. Shopping at ethnic groceries often is far less expensive than Whole Foods. Look for local farms that sell meat, vegetables and fruit -- you'll likely buy better quality stuff for less than the local supermarket.
For example, I buy meat from a farmers market that's free of hormones and preservatives. I pay about $1 less per pound than I would at the local supermarket.
If money's not an issue, you can find prepared foods that fit the gfcf diet at the specialty stores and online.
And last but not least, use this blog.
Keep your head up -- reading this is a good start.
That's right -- coconut flour! I'd never heard of it or seen it until today. An entry on the GFCFrecipes board submitted the following recipe she made for her son. I thought I'd repost it here because of its uniqueness. I plan to try it soon.
"After 6 month of trying to do a bread for my son with no success, he is on Gluten, soy, corn, yeast, beans, dairy, nuts (only walnuts are ok), grain free diet, I was able to find a very simple coconut bread recipe. Here's the recipe:
Anyone interested in trying coconut flour can find it at Bob's Red Mill or Wilderness Family Naturals' website.
- 6 eggs
- 1/2 cup butter, melted (I used 1/3 cup olive
- 2 tablespoons honey (I didn't put any, in my mind bread
shouldn't be sweet)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (I put a little bit more)
- 3/4 cup sifted coconut flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
Blend together everything, pour into greased 9x5x3 inch
or smaller loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, remove from pan and
cool on rack. I actually made small balls (like meatballs) and baked for 20
minutes instead, they came out like buns."